In 2017 I decided to open my website with my monthly 'Journal' page instead of the traditional 'bio' Here I endeavour to explain some useful knowledge pertaining to the creation of a visual piece using photography and examples.
Every now and again the photos within this website will be changed (so do please check them occasionally!) but as this isn't done every month the Journal page was created so that each month there is something new to read and see!
So much has changed, and yet not changed, since I last updated this page at the end of March. We are still under 'lock-down' with everyone taking 'physical distancing' very seriously, only going out for essential trips and not seeing anyone outside our home environments. Thank goodness for emails, good old-fashioned letters, and video calls. It is certainly a bizarre experience having to stay home, plus being bewildering and frightening, yet this time is also full of friendships and positive outlooks.
Outside it is so nice seeing the daffodils appear and the leaves begin to unfurl - shows time is passing and this time too, will pass.
Above is the finished wire Boar that my cat was so entranced by (photo in March). It was a step outside my usual repertoire and I have enjoyed 'going small'. One of my art teachers always said I should 'go big' and all my previous animals have been life-sized, however smaller sculptures are appealing and come with a new set of challenges. I have now ideas for other 'smaller' animal sculptures.
Along with our current lock-down life, we are all going to have to learn to accommodate the 'new normal' when the restrictions are slowly lifted. One is the wearing of face-masks to protect ourselves and others when out in public places. Since I have a good collection of fabric and a love of sewing I have made a number of masks for friends and family; my helpful feline ensuring its all done properly!!
How strange life has become. At the end of last month we were hit by a huge snowstorm and we were all busy digging paths in order to be able to leave our homes, now we are all housebound and wondering when we can freely leave again.
It's hard not to be scared. We're given huge numbers of likely deaths and little is known of the future. I feel like a rabbit caught in the lights of a car - how can we have not known this was coming until suddenly it was upon us?
I am very appreciative of all those people who go to work each day to keep us fed and cared for. For the rest of us, all we can do is stay home & stay safe, we can 'keep calm and carry on' but only in our own homes. For a lot of people it is time to enjoy things we had little time for before, it's a time to reconnect with friends and neighbours (by telephone, mail or email of course!), and a time to get on with things we've always meant to. For many life has come to a sudden halt as their job and income has vanished. Our youngest son, Sebastian Ellis, is a musician and that is exactly what he is faced with - no job and no income.
However, each day he plays music, and during the week he puts together a selection of songs for a radio-style music show lasting from 10 to 20 minutes. It's called 'The Renaissance Hour' and is available on You Tube and as a podcast. Please do listen to the show - it's a little light relief in these trying times. Here are the links:
I'm so glad we have our 3 animals to keep us grounded and make life feel 'normal'. Each day they give us love and attention and bring smiles to our faces. Playing Frisbee with our dog helps unwind nerves and a walk eases the stress.
I'm in the process of making a few more wire sculptures and our female cat is always very inquisitive to everything I do. Here she is closely inspecting my work!!
Lets hope that April brings more sunshine than rain and we can see a better future albeit a long way off still.
This month I was asked if I would participate in the forth coming Monster Project exhibition hosted by the Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts. The Monster project has been designed to encourage children to be creative. The children are asked to draw a picture of a monster; local artists then take one of these drawings and create a picture of their own. The project is to show children how their art work can inspire others.
When I was first approached to take part in the Monster Project I was initially very hesitant. My work is generally book-sized detailed pen & ink illustrations, small needle felted textile pieces, or wire sculptures. I was presented with a large blank canvas to fill which was a daunting task....But I decided to do a fabric picture as shape, colour, and texture are all important factors to me. For children I feel colour and texture are very important - especially for their developing senses of vision, and 'feel' by the touching of diverse surfaces.
I have illustrated this journal with the stages of my project. I created the 'monster' from layers of wool fibre that I needle-felted to create the shape and colour of the monster drawn by the child whose illustration I was given. The picture is all fabric; the individual parts have been appliquéd onto the background to create the final image.
All the pictures of Monsters (both child's and Artist's) will be on display from 4th March until 22nd April at The Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts, Simcoe Street, Collingwood, Ontario. If you are in the vicinity then please visit the exhibition as the pictures of both the children and the artists make a wonderful display!
Monsters come in many shapes and forms so it’s nice to have happy cheerful monsters to frighten off the nasty ones!!
A new year! How quickly the last one went, as all years seem to be doing these days. 2020, that has a nice ring to it, so I hope 2020 will be as good a year as it can be and I can continue to progress and promote my work - especially my book!
I am so happy when people tell me that the book they gave as a gift was met with delight and enjoyed. It's wonderful to hear that something you have done is appreciated by others. If I can raise a smile, I have been successful.
This month I was chosen to be part of the Featured Artist event organised by the BMFA (Blue Mountain Foundation for the Arts) which was held in the Press Room at the BMFA's Simcoe street location in Collingwood, Ontario.
For this exhibition I added to my repertoire of needle-felted pictures with a design to remind everyone of summer! I decided to create two complimentary pictures featuring the iconic Muskoka Chair. I was introduced to the Muskoka chair quite a number of years ago and soon discovered that it was almost a 'must have' of back gardens, retreats and cottages. The chair design makes them incredibly comfortable to sit in! When I decided to feature the Muskoka chair in my designs I thought it was time to find out the origin of this highly recognisable piece of furniture.
Apparently the original design was by Thomas Lee in the early 1900's. He was on holiday in West Port, New York and decided to design a chair that would suit the rugged terrain of the Adirondacks. With the aid of a friend, Harry Bunnell, the production of the chair started. Bunnell developed the highly successful business making the Westport chair. Overtime the design underwent some minor changes to make it more readily reproducible. The Westport chair became the Adirondack Chair. In Canada this chair is known as the Muskoka chair.
During January we had a couple of big ice storms. One was followed by a lot of snow. The result was nature at it's prettiest in winter! The ice surrounded everything that it came in contact with, creating glass-like sleeves on all the limbs of the trees. The snow accumulated on the ice, then the sun came out....it was so pretty! All glistening and shining with mini rainbows coming from every ice-bound branch! Looking up is so important and to look at the sky through the snow and ice covered trees was delightful. It's difficult to imagine on grey winter days that the sky can be so intensely blue, but as they say, the sun is always shining even on cloudy days!
Click here to view January to April 2019
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Click here to view September to December 2019